The Dallas Cowboys, even with a record less than .500, reached the title of NFC East as they spread a top-scoring strike for the Amara Cooper at the Oakland Raiders. It seemed to make sense. The Cowboys desperately needed a # 1 in the standings, and the race in the division was open. The first Washington Redskins looked less than overwhelming and the Philadelphia Eagles had problems.
However, it does not matter how far the divisional race is open if you do not win.
Cooper made his debut for the Cowboys at home on Monday night against the Tennessee Titans. He had some decent moments and gave the cowboys an early lead with a touchdown catch in the first quarter. But it was not enough. Not even close. The crime in Dallas stuttered on. The Cowboys reached their middle class in desperate condition after losing to the Titans at 28-14.
"Really disappointing," said Cowboy owner Jerry Jones to reporters after the game. "We certainly did not see it coming."
The Cowboys (3-5) are two games behind the Redskins and a game behind the Eagles. That's not so daunting.
But the cowboys are not playing well, as their record suggests. They lost two games in a row and three out of four games. They fell shortly before their reunion week and just before the completion of Cooper trading to the Redskins of FedEx Field. With the week to rest and prepare, with the time to bring Cooper into the crime, they delivered a Klunker on Monday.
"It's really not good enough," said coach Jason Garrett at his post-game press conference. "We had some early opportunities that we could not profit from. Ultimately, they did more to win the game than we did. "
The biggest problems are on the offensive. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, the four-meter from Cooper in the first quarter and a 23-meter wide transmitter Allen Hurns in the final minute of the first half, which ended the game at 14. Prescott also had two costly turnovers, a first-quarter intercept in the end zone, as the Cowboys could extend their lead, and lost a third quarter fumble that led to the start of Tennessee.
Prescott has become a sales-prone quarterback. This was not the case during his great 2016 rookie season when he and Ezekiel Elliott led the cowboys in the NFC playoffs to the top. But Prescott, Elliott and the Cowboys did not retake that magic from their rookie year when their postseason ended with a loss at home to the Green Bay Packers. The future, however, seemed so promising.
The last season was reversed when Elliott missed six games while adding his suspension under the NFL's Code of Conduct. Half of the season was postponed as he and the NFL Players Association fought the court case. This year, the Cowboys had assumed that Elliott was back in the lineup for an entire season, which would lead to success. There is no shortage Jason Witten retired to the ESPN broadcast booth "Monday Night Football". The cowboys cut ties with the wide receiver Dez Bryant. Prescott could not speed up the passing game.
The Cowboys failed on Monday to generate a running game as Elliott was limited to 17 transfers to 61 yards. The offensive coordinator Scott Linehan fell into his familiar pattern. The cowboys first ran down the ball and did not win many yards. From there, Prescott would be exposed to the pressure of the Titans. The results were not good.
The cowboys were eliminated in the second half. Cooper finished five catches for 58 yards. It was not a bad debut. But the cowboys will need more to give up their decision in the first round to be justified.
The Dallas defense was good this season and they benefited from two early Titan sales on Monday. But the Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota settled down from there and played pretty well, running for a touchdown and throwing for two others. Cowboy's linebacker Sean Lee hobbled off the field with an Achilles tendon injury. The Titans were the first team to score more than 24 points against the Cowboys this season.
The speculation will undoubtedly increase that the Cowboys are about to fire Garrett or Linehan or both. But this kind of talk is common and it has not happened yet. Jones told reporters Monday evening that he would not consider coaching changes during the season. Jones was extremely patient with Garrett, and some in the league are speculating on it because Garrett Jones has as much influence over how the team operates on the field.
The cowboys play in Philadelphia on Sunday night. That begins a five game range in which they face the Atlanta Falcons on the road, then three home games against the Redskins (for Thanksgiving), the New Orleans Saints and the Eagles. When that time is up, the cowboys in the NFC East could be competing again.
Or the competitive part of their season could be done, and all that would be left is to consider the future of Dallas by Garrett and Prescott and wonder why the Cowboys had alternated their decision in the first round, what they had probably lost cause.
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